Greetings all my relations,
With great honor we will continue with The Ancient book of Manti.
We will continue studying the principles and ways and customs of a Zion people and what that means… The people of the Lord have all things in common…
1) Now behold, many of the Nemenhah heard the admonition that Timothy (Translated Being one of The Three Nephites) gave us when he admonished us to write about our own use of the Law of Consecration and they winked at it.
For, it seemed curious to them that we should dedicate room on the plates, which are made of metal and there is not much of it, to matters that seem rather unconnected with the religion of Mentinah.
2) But, as for me, I deem it of great importance.
For,the religion of the people ought to have to do with all those things that we do that bring us unto Christ.
And I deem it wisdom in Timothy that he should admonish us to write these things.
For, the Lord gives no commandments unto the children of men but that He does not also wish them to obey and thereby gain the benefit of the things He does command.
Wherefore, since He has commanded us to receive unto ourselves this Law of Consecration by covenant, and that most holy, I will follow the admonition of Timothy and write unto my descendents these things that they too may derive some benefit from them also.
3) Now, from time to time, a traveler comes into our city, or into one of the cities round about, requesting that they be allowed to enter into the law with us and become part of our community. And this is the way that we do admit them into fellowship with us:
4) Behold, we do examine them as to their understanding of our ways and our customs and if they do know much about us and are willing to be one with us, we do welcome them in and assign space for them. If they know little about us, we do ask them to stay in one of the hostels that are provided for those who come to visit the temple and we do take much time and care with them to be very sure that they know us and our ways before they make any commitment as to how they will live.
When we are satisfied that they know us and our ways sufficiently to know whether they can live as we live or not, we do welcome them in and assign a place for them.
5) Now, the place that is assigned for them depends largely upon that function they wish to fill as members of our communities.
For behold, if the man or woman wishes to be artisans in baskets, it is not good that they build a home close up unto the mountain because of that they will have need of much travel to and from their home in order to gather and prepare the reeds.
Therefore, it would be better for them to build their home close unto the lake where the reeds are plentiful. And this is an ensample of the thought that is taken for each family holding within our cities.
6) And when the family has been assigned their place within our community, they are taken to the temple and an ordinance of adoption is performed for them in the sight of the community. And this is the manner of the ordinance:
7) The individual is taken by the right hand in the right hand of the Peli who performs the ceremony. And they raise their hands together in the sight of the people.
And the Peli proclaims the person’s name in a loud voice and also that the person is now kin of our kin and flesh of our flesh, for we are all relations.
After they have done this, the two of them go down into the font and the person is baptized as a token of the covenant of the making of family. When the person comes up out of the font, all the people embrace.
8) And when the person is thus introduced into the family of the Nemenhah, the people whose homes are nearby to the place which has been assigned come together to assist the new member of the family to build a home.
And this is done in the same manner as when a young man and woman are first married.
Yea, we all join together in building a new home and a new holding for the new member of the Nemenhah. And, when the home is completed, all the people come to celebrate it and they bring gifts from their own homes to help the new one settle in.
9) Now, sometimes a new person comes into our communities who has much substance and this was once the subject of some debate in the councils.
It was believed by some that such a one ought to give all that they have into the storehouse and then receive back again sufficient for their needs.
But I disagreed with this practice, for, on the one part, it judges the person harshly and, on the other, it necessitates the placing of one person as steward over property that once belonged to another.
10) On the one hand, who may stand in judgment of the worthiness of another?
Who can say that the substance brought in by another is filthy lucre?
Is it not part of the stewardship that the Lord has given?
How then can we judge such a thing?
And if the gain of another was won by hard labor, is it right to take that substance from them?
11) On the other hand, to assign a steward over the storehouse is the usual custom among our people to care for the increase that is offered freely out of the labor of our hands.
But to place in the storehouse all of another’s substance and then give back again that which is deemed sufficient for their needs, is the backwards of the custom of the people.
For behold, each person is the steward of their own substance and they offer the surplus of it freely to those who are in need or to the storehouse to be kept back for them that may find a need later. But none are compelled to offer their surplus.
It is part of the covenant we have made one to another and also unto the Lord.
Wherefore, how can we compel one person for his much substance but not another for his little? And how can we compel one person because he is unknown to us and not all those who are our friends and neighbors?
12) Yea, we did debate these things for a long time and the Council did finally come to a decision with the help of the Spirit of God in us.
Verily, it was decided that each person ought to be the steward of all that the Lord does see fit to bestow. Yea, and each person should labor to have a surplus, but also to be the steward of that surplus, remaining ever watchful that when the needy come for assistance that he give what assistance he may.
And when there is a surplus for which special needs exist, then that surplus ought to be
given to the storehouse.
13) But behold, no one is to judge another for their substance or their offerings. And in this thing, the Council deemed that there would be much greater peace in the communities and in all the land.
14) And again, from time to time, there arose disputations because that one person or another failed to live the Law of Consecration as another thought it ought to be lived. These were kept to a minimum because of the constant teaching of the principles and ordinances of the High Place. And indeed, it was difficult to imagine much contention about such things. For, the people were in such accord that there was seldom much disagreement.
15) But now and then there arises someone in the community that refuses to labor for their own support, but becomes dependent upon the labors of their neighbors and take advantage of them. Now, these are not they who are sick or halt or blind or in any way are unable to labor.
But they are they who see how easy it might become to live upon the labors of others.
These are always brought before the Community Council and chastened. And if they do repent and take up again some useful purpose, all is forgotten.
But if they refuse, or they repent the moment and return to their sloth, they are brought once again before the Council and they are chastened.
16) And if the person repents not and does refuse to return to some useful purpose, then assistance to them is curtailed.
They must rely upon the charity of their neighbors.
And, if it so be that they have taken such advantage of their neighbors that there exists bad will between them, they do usually move away from them.
Then they are treated as neighbors and all the people trade with them, for, in trade we do assume that they have become once again fruitful, wherefore we do trade with them. But they no longer receive of the surplus.
17) Now, this may seem harsh, but, how may one live solely off the labor of another if he be of good body and right mind? And if he be of sound body and his mind is right, how should he feel to live off the labors of another?
Wherefore, let all they who live the Law of Consecration do so with all their heart, for it does establish a Zion on earth.
But let him not take the advantage of his neighbor.
18) Wherefore, our communities grew very rapidly, for there were many people who came into the land to live in peace and harmony with us and learning our ways, desired to be Nemenhah.
And as many as did strive for the things that we did strive for were admitted into our communities, and they become one with us.
19) And from time to time there arise those who do commit grave sin against a neighbor, such that they do take away a person’s ability to labor.
These are immediately brought before the Community Council to be examined of them. And if the thing be proved with witnesses, that the matter be accidental and without
malice or intention, then that person is given the opportunity to make the matter good, if it is possible, pledging for the upkeep of the injured person.
And if the burden be not deemed too great, the matter stands corrected, insofar as such things can be corrected.
And if it be deemed that the burden be too great, then the sinner is reproved and is assigned to do all that is not too great a burden for the upkeep of the injured one.
20) If it is found that the matter be intentional and with malice and the malefactor be not repentant and will refuse to pledge for the upkeep of the injured, that person is hastily cast out into the lonely world and a decree advertising the abuse is published in all the land.
And that decree shall stand until the person desires to repent and make good his offense.
21) And behold, if it be found that a person does willfully do an act of murder, rapine or mayhem and it is proven with witnesses and evidence that the act was of no accident and was verily done with intention, then that person is speedily and privily put to death.
Behold, this is our law, that any act of murder, rapine or mayhem shall be dealt with in this harsh manner.
For, we have seen the destruction of a people because of the secret combinations of the Gadiantonhem and we wish no such thing to take hold among our people.
22) But behold, according to the records and remembrances of the people, there has only been two such cases and they involved persons who had come among our people from afar off and had no knowledge of our ways.
Yea, they were foreigners from foreign lands where such things are common, but they were not of us.
23) For behold, we do esteem each one of us equally responsible for the upholding of the laws which have been established by the councils.
Likewise, we do esteem each other equally entitled to the benefit that good laws do bring to a people.
24) Wherefore, if a man steals from his neighbor, he is chastened and must return the thing stolen.
And if the stolen article is destroyed or consumed, then he is chastened and must return the value of the thing.
When this is done, the matter stands resolved.
But if the man steals again or makes a habit of theft, even though it deprive no one of the ability to labor for his upkeep, such that he steals three times, he is cast out from among the people and is no longer entitled to the surplus.
But, if he repent and prove himself through diligent service for the space of one year, then is he re-admitted in full fellowship.
25) But behold, if he return again to his crimes, he is forthwith cast out from among the people and a decree is sent out to all the people of his crimes.
26) And if a man bear false witness against his neighbor such that he be injured in his good name or his reputation and it be proved with witnesses and evidences, then is the offender brought before the Community Council and the matter is heard.
And if the matter be proven, then the man is chastened and, in order to remain in the community, he must make amends for his error and labor to repair the damage he has caused by his false witness.
But behold, he is not made to pledge himself for the upkeep of the offended person, for he has not caused the offended to lose the ability to provide for his own family and for the community. But the offender must repent and make amends, else he is cast out from among the people.
27) Behold, in Mentinah, it is sin to do injury or harm unto your neighbor, for, we hold that our way of life depends upon one neighbor serving another.
Yea, we labor diligently not only for our own living, but also for the upkeep and happiness of our neighbors.
And, if there be any who feel not to participate with us in our ways and our customs, behold, there is none that stands to compel them, but they are welcome to depart and live as they want to.
28) Yea, and it is true that we are prospered by the Lord in measure greater than that which is enjoyed by the people in the Land Southward.
For, were it not so, I can hardly think that so many would come unto us and beg us to admit them into our society.
And we do live happily with all people because of our laws, for, we know what is expected of us and we do serve each other.
to be continued…cj